What are the Duties of a Dental Administrative Assistant?

Not every dental assistant is chairside helping the dentist with patient procedures. Some are in the front office and handle the inflow of patients as they arrive, as well as many other important tasks. The dental administrative assistant is so much more than a receptionist or secretary.

In some states and for some jobs an educational program is required for administrative assistants who work in the dental field. This is because some of the clerical work you will be doing pertains especially to this field and there is specialized information you need to know.

One thing you'll be doing as an administrative assistant for a dentist's office is answering phones. These will be multiple line telephones so you can communicate more effectively with patients.

Also the multiple lines may be used by the other assistants and/or dentists to make and receive calls.

The majority of your calls will be appointment scheduling and cancellations, but some will be calls from patients who need an emergency visit. This is a situation that should be covered during your on-the-job training.

Invoicing insurance companies and self-pay patients is another common task performed by the administrative assistant in a dentist's office. You may file the patient's insurance with their insurance company or send them a bill for the amount of service if they don't pay up front.

You may also be responsible for collecting co-pays, or co-payments, from patients whose insurance plans require this.

Filing is another big part of the administrative assistant's job. Keeping customer data in tidy order is imperative for things to run smoothly. Many dentist offices have files so large the file system is controlled by a giant sliding system controlled by a wheel that you turn to open and close.

The days of the single filing cabinet is over, at least at large dental practices. Much of the filing and scheduling is now computerized.

A career as a dental administrative assistant may be right for you if you enjoy office work, are good with people and have education and/or experience in an office setting. As previously mentioned, you may have to attend school to become an assistant in this field.

However, some dentist's are willing to train their administrative assistants on site and do not require specialized education. In many cases, learning as you go is the best way to get accustomed to a new administrative job.

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